How to get a multiple Schengen visa at once for 1-5 years

Silly Schengen questions you were too shy to ask

Schengen visas are like high school crushes. Almost everyone has had at least one, but few understand how it even works.

Collected the most embarrassing questions about Schengen and answered them, so you do not embarrass yourself on travel forums and Facebook.

Important: We’re talking about a category C visa, for short trips of up to 90 days. This visa can be a business visa, a visitor visa, or a tourist visa. Visas for study, work or residence have their own nuances.

What kind of visa is this?

Can I go to any country in Europe with it? Or only to EU countries?

Officially, there are 50 countries in Europe, and 26 of them have agreed to abolish border controls within the zone called the Schengen zone. To enter this zone, you need a permit valid for a certain period of time – simply put, a visa.

Schengen is not the European Union. Some countries are part of the EU, but Schengen visas are not suitable for entry. And vice versa: there are countries that are not part of the EU, but Schengen visas are accepted. For example, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland are not members of the EU, but you can enter them with a Schengen visa.

A Schengen visa is suitable for entering these countries:

Portugal, Estonia, Poland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria, Finland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, Norway, Czech Republic, Iceland, Luxembourg, Germany, Slovenia, Sweden, Malta, Denmark, Slovakia, Spain, Latvia, France, Belgium, Lithuania, Hungary and Denmark.

But the Schengen visa is not suitable for Ireland, despite the fact that the country is a member of the EU. The Irish require a separate visa. Just do not confuse this Ireland with Northern Ireland, which is part of Great Britain.

Do I have to get a new Schengen visa for every trip?

Schengen C visas are divided into single-entry and multiple-entry. In addition, both are called short-term visas, that is, they do not imply that you will stay for several years in Europe to live and work.

Single-entry are valid once and for a certain period of time. That is, if you go to Europe for two weeks, and you were given a visa for exactly 14 days, then after your return and the next trip will have to make a new visa.

Multi-visas, or multiple-entry visas, are limited only by the period of validity. If you were given such a visa for three years you may enter and exit to any country of the Schengen Agreement at least forty times during these three years. The main thing is not to exceed the limit: a maximum of 90 days of stay in Europe for six months.

Do you have to pay the visa fee?

Yes. This money is required to get your documents processed. The visa fee for Russian citizens is 35 Euros, and if you apply through the visa application center – 35 Euros plus the service charge of the center. This money is not refunded even if you are denied a visa.

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If you don’t want to pay for additional services, you have to obtain a visa at the consulate of the country you are going to travel to. Why not everyone does this? Acceptance hours are limited, and the consulates of some countries need to sign up much in advance and wait long for your turn. In addition, you can apply for any Schengen country in one visa center, while one consulate is always responsible for one particular country.

Where to go for a visa?

This is easier to explain point by point:

  • A consulate general is, roughly speaking, the direct representation of a country on the territory of another state. It is these guys who issue visas. Since the chain is the shortest, everything is cheaper. You fill out the documents yourself, pay the fee yourself, and pick up your passport yourself.
  • The visa center is the official “courier” between you and the visa issuing country (for example, the Italian visa center). You have to make an appointment and pay a “service fee”. You only fill out the application form; the rest is handled by the center staff.
  • Travel agencies are people who will even fill in the application form for you (well, ideally), sometimes take photos, and also take everything to the consulate. You pay for all these services plus the consular fee for the visa.

Just remember: the visa center = you do not bother yourself with questions and registration, you pay more money, the courier brings your visa at least in the office in the middle of the day, the consulate = you do all the documents, you pay less, go to pick up the visa after the call about readiness.

And what documents do you need? Do you need a translation?

The best way to find out the full list of documents is to go to the site of consulate or visa center. Some countries require proof of financial solvency and all reservations, some require only an application form and a copy of your passport. Are you in doubt about whether to take something? It’s better to call and clarify. Numbers and phone numbers can be found in the same place as the list of documents.

As a rule, you will be required:

  • A passport and copies of all pages;
  • A standard application form with photographs;
  • A passport and a copy of the first page. Important: The passport must be valid for another three months after you return from your trip;
  • A document clarifying the purpose of your trip. For business – an invitation from a foreign legal entity, for tourism – confirmation of hotel reservations.
  • Proof of employment on official letterhead and insurance.

The questionnaire is filled in Latin letters at the consulate site or online center – then it is enough just to print. Do not lie on the form. At a minimum, it threatens a guaranteed denial of a visa.

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And do not forget that countries may have different requirements for photos. Finland and Slovakia, for example, prefer a gray background instead of white.

But if it turns out that any paperwork is missing, whether it’s a hotel reservation or a return ticket, you will definitely be told about it right away. There will not be the situation that the package of documents will be accepted without something important, and then silently refused a visa.

How is the validity of the visa determined?

Literally until the summer of 2019, everything depended on only two factors: your travel history and the visa policies of the countries. For example, Germany was more likely to allow only travel dates. Italy and Greece could issue a six-month multiple-entry visa the first time. Sometimes the policy changed with the arrival of new consuls, or even depended on the tourist situation in the state.

You can get a one-year multi-visa, provided that in your passport there are already at least three visas received during the previous two years. Get a multivisa for two years will be possible if you’ve previously had a visa for a year.

Schengen visa for five years will be given to those who received a two-year visa over the past three years. The general and main condition for all is the correct use of visas.

Correct use means that you follow all the rules.

Also you can apply for a visa six months in advance, but not less than 15 days before the trip.

But the rules are the rules, and they can still refuse regardless of the visa history. This works in the opposite direction: if you can prove that you really need, and confirm the need to visit the country, you may be able to make advances and get a visa, regardless of previous stamps in your passport.

What is “roll back visa” and how to do it correctly?

Is it possible to enter a country other than the country of issue first? Is it necessary to go to the country that issued the visa every time before leaving for another one?

“Rolling back” or “opening” a Schengen multivisa means going to the country that issued the visa before traveling to all other countries. For some countries such “opening” is a prerequisite, violation of which may reduce the chances of obtaining the next visa.

Other countries have a rule that you have to stay the longest number of days in the country that opened the visa compared to other countries. Just do not forget that as such there are no borders between Schengen countries. This means that when you enter Austria from Italy, no one will give you a new stamp. So this rule can be complied with, if exactly to go to the country of visa issuance for a longer period, so that by the marks in your passport was clear how much time you spent there.

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Another option: the number of exits to the country that issued the visa must be equal or greater than the entries to all other countries.

You may be tired of this phrase, but the best way to find out for sure is to contact the consulate. You don’t want to risk future visas and believe travel forums.

One piece of advice can be given for sure: go to the country that issued the visa at least once.

Can I stay in Europe for two years if I have a two-year tourist visa?

No. Here we go back to the first point, when you can stay in the Schengen area on a tourist visa not more than 90 days in a half year (that is, 90 of about 180 days). You can use them consecutively (that is, enter the country and leave after three months) or in small periods.

If you have a visa for a year or more, the rule works the same way – no more than 90 days. You have to count from the first day of entry into Europe.

What to do if I run out of visa days?

It depends on your visa type:

  1. If it was a single entry visa, you simply apply for a new visa;
  2. If it was a multiple-entry visa and you have already used up your 90 days in a six-month period, you must wait until the beginning of the next one. Issuing a new visa in this case will not help.

Can I enter the Schengen Area with one visa and leave with another?

Yes, you may. But you must have two visas that are “back-to-back” – the second visa starts the day after the end of the first. If there is a gap of at least a day between visas, this is not very good and may cause questions about why you were in another country without a visa.

How to extend a Schengen visa without leaving home?

You can’t! For a Schengen visa there is no such thing as “extend” – you can only get a new one. It can immediately follow the previous one (see above), but you still have to collect all the documents and pay the visa fee.

Can I buy a one-way ticket if you have a valid Schengen visa?

Will they ask at the border when and how I return?

Everything about the border is up to the officer you are talking to. If you have a plan for returning, speak calmly and confidently about it when asked by the officer. If there is no such plan, try to think through your answer beforehand. If you answer uncertainly, you may be reasonably afraid that you have no intention of returning at all – and you simply won’t be allowed anywhere.

But we know a lot of cases where travelers honestly admitted that they are going to travel around several countries and return in a couple of months, buying a return ticket later. And no hindrance to it did not create: they listened and skipped.

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How to get a multiple Schengen visa at once for 1-5 years

Learn which countries are more willing to issue a Schengen multivisa for a year, two years, or even five years! What are the rules for applying in 2022? How to apply for a visa by yourself?

Multischengen is a dream of many! Sure it is: each time collecting documents, filling out forms, walking around visa application centers, and worrying is still a great pleasure. To save your nerves and time and be the happy owner of a multiple-entry visa to Schengen Europe, you need to choose the right country. Some are greedy and give visas just for the dates of travel, while others are happy to indulge in long multiples. Let’s find out who’s the best country to go to for a visa!

I’ve grouped countries into three categories based on how often they give multi visas. The ranking is based on statistics from Vinsky forum: people took a survey after getting a visa and shared the results.

What is a Schengen multivisa? It is a visa that entitles you to enter Schengen countries an unlimited number of times within the validity period of the multivisa. The period varies: six months, one year, two, etc. As long as your multivisa has not expired, you can visit the Schengen countries, as well as some others: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia.

how to get a multivisa to spain

Schengen is your window to Europe. Photo from our trip to Spain, Granada.

Gods of multivisas.

These countries generously hand out Schengen multivisas at once for long periods of time (2 to 5 years):

France

This is the #1 country for those dreaming of a long term visa! The chances of getting a Schengen visa just for the dates of travel – only 1 in 50. And the probability to get a multi-visa for 3-5 years is almost 50%!

Dates of trip 2%
Six months 21%
Year 23%
Two years 5%
Three years 7%
Four or more 42%

Greece

Perhaps all Russians know about the generosity of the Greeks. Greece is good at giving multi visas for 1-3 years at a time.

Dates of trip 7%
Six months 12%
Year 26%
Two years 19%
Three years 34%
Four or more 3%

Spain

Spaniards are greedy to give a multi-visa at once for 3-5 years, but for a year or two give away right and left – 91%. Cases of visas for dates are extremely rare.

Dates of trip 4%
Six months 3%
Year 62%
Two years 29%
Three years 0%
Four or more 1%

bad countries for schengenSpaniards are a generous soul! Photo: @victoriano / unsplash.com.

Other good countries

Countries that are good at giving Schengen multi visas for a year or two:

    – 69% for a year or two. – 67% for a year. – 61% for a year or two. – 50% for a year. – 50% for a year. – 51% for a year or two. – 47% for a year. – 54% for a year or two (but they also often give 23% for travel dates). – 44% for half a year.
  • Latvia and Lithuania – 45% for a year or two (but also give on travel dates often – 19%).
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Greedy countries

The most greedy countries for multivisas:

  • Austria – 89% under travel dates!
  • Switzerland – 50% for travel dates.
  • Hungary – 31% for travel dates.

Do not go to these countries for a visa, otherwise you can forget about the multivisa.

bad countries for schengen

Austria, Switzerland and Hungary – do not go for a visa. Photo: @dpascoa / unsplash.com.

My Schengen visas

My experience of getting Schengen visas since 2010, in order:

  1. Italy – under dates.
  2. Lithuania – under dates.
  3. Netherlands – multivisa for six months.
  4. Czech Republic – under dates for a month-long trip around Europe (stingy!).
  5. Spain – multi-visa for a year (my already great love for Spain increased even more).
  6. France – multi-visa for a year (counted on more).

Tips: How to get a Schengen multivisa

Try to plan your trip so that the main country of your stay was a country from the list of loyal. It is especially easy to get a multivisa to Greece, France, Spain, Finland, Belgium, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands.

But remember: you must apply for a visa for the country where you are going to spend the most days. The country of first entry does not play a role. This is a myth with one exception: You should apply for a visa for the country of first entry when the main destination cannot be determined (e.g., you plan to spend one night each in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia).

Try to provide the consulate with your bank account statements with a large balance . The more money you have, the better your chances of obtaining a Schengen multivisa. Certificates of employment are desirable, but not required – practice shows that their presence or absence does not play a role.

Arrange your visas by yourself! Intermediary travel agencies do not care what kind of visa you get, the only thing they want is to earn your money. This is the biggest waste of money that you can imagine: they do not provide any guarantees, and your chances of obtaining a multi-visa they can only worsen. Gather the right package of documents and submit them to the visa center of your city on your own.

To get a visa you will definitely need insurance. I advise you to choose and buy a policy on Cherehap – they compare insurance conditions and help you choose the best policy.

Trite but important tips:

Fill out the form carefully and accurately.

Don’t photoshop your tickets and hotel reservations.

Do not violate the rules of stay of the countries you visit.

Do not: get a visa of some country on a fake or canceled reservations, and went to another. Payback will come the next time you apply for a new visa, and at the border may ask about your route.

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